Good Green Beans

August 17, 2010

I tend to like my green beans pretty plain.  Like broccoli.  I could pounds and pounds of those two veggies just steamed with a healthy sprinkle of salt.  Maybe a squeeze of lemon.  That is how my husband likes them too.

But the green beans are so gorgeous at our markets right now.  Plump, long, incredibly fresh.  I felt like I wanted to celebrate their beauty more and make something a little more substantial.  I found this recipe in my new Plenty cookbook but knew instinctively that some changes had to be made to the method.  I was instructed to toss cooked beans, snow peas and peas in a warm spiced oil, then scatter crushed garlic, lemon zest, chopped chile and tarragon over the top.  I don’t know about you, but crushed garlic and lemon zest don’t “scatter” too well for me.  I wouldn’t welcome a big bite of raw garlic-laced green bean or a fuzzy lemon-zested one.  I certainly am not interested in getting a big bite of jalapeño either.

Instead of following directions like a good oldest child, I made more of a dressing including the juice of the lemon as well, and poured tossed the mixture with the vegetables.  I am not a huge snow pea fan and would normally have substituted snap peas, but instead I just upped the green beans and threw in a diced avocado.  The oil with crushed coriander seeds and mustard seeds really made this dish.  I loved their smoky flavor and subtle crunch along with the tartness of the lemon.  I guess I could eat pounds of green beans this way too.

One Year Ago: Sharlyn Melon Soup with Cucumber Chile Ice
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Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon
Loosely adapted from Plenty
Serves 4

1½ pounds green beans, ends trimmed
1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp. coriander seed, roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 tsp. mustard seeds
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 large avocado, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. chopped tarragon, plus more for garnish

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.  Have a large bowl of ice water ready.  Add 2 tablespoons of salt and then the green beans.  Cook for 3 minutes, then add the peas.  After 30 seconds, scoop all the vegetables out into the ice bath, adding more ice if necessary.  When cool, drain well, then place in a large bowl.  Add the chopped shallots and avocado.

Put the coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and oil into a small frying pan and turn the heat to medium.  When the seeds begin to pop, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly.  Meanwhile put the garlic, lemon juice and zest, chile, and tarragon in a bowl or jar.  Add a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Pour the oil over and shake or whisk to combine.  Pour the dressing over the vegetables and gently toss to combine.  This dish looks best on a platter garnished with additional tarragon leaves.


  1. This looks fresh and vibrant. Just the way seasonal produce should look. Yum!

    Comment by Nicole — August 17, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

  2. This looks so perfect, Dana! I love that you made a dressing out of this. I have a bunch of green beans from our CSA that I was just going to prepare in my usual fashion (lightly steamed & dressed with lemon juice, garlic & kosher salt – eaten cold), but this looks like the ante has been upped!

    Comment by kickpleat — August 17, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

  3. Great thinking to skip the scattering. The dressing sounds delicious, and I love the added avocado.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — August 17, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

  4. Yum! I haven’t been able to get to the markets much this year. I’m dismayed about this especially after seeing these amazing beans. They look wonderful!

    Comment by redmenace — August 17, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

  5. I think this could turn me into a green bean lover. And it takes a lot for me to say that.

    I never really understand what I’m supposed to do when recipes tell me to scatter things. I like your take much better.

    Comment by Joanne — August 18, 2010 @ 12:14 am

  6. ohmygosh dana, how beautiful! what a healthy and lovely dish; i cant wait to try it!

    Comment by brooke — August 18, 2010 @ 5:04 am

  7. I am going to procure my copy of Plenty as soon as payday arrives next week… But I’m sure I’ll be making this dish before then! Lovely, lovely, lovely as always :-) (PS: And I’m totally with you one the broccoli/beans with lemon and salt deal.)

    Comment by Koek! — August 18, 2010 @ 9:17 am

  8. Oh my, I’m loving green beans this summer. We’ve had great ones in the market place, and I find myself buying them every time I get groceries. This recipe looks wonderful and so full of flavor. I’d be happy with a plate of that for dinner anytime.

    Comment by tiina { sparkling ink } — August 18, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  9. Unlike you, I only really enjoy fresh green beans when they are dressed up (though I could eat canned ones all day long, gross right?). The good old CSA should be bringing some beans soon, and I’ll keep this recipe handy until then. Love the addition of avocado!

    Comment by Sarah S. — August 18, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

  10. Yum!! On the hunt for how to use up the green beans in my garden.

    Comment by The Leftoverist — August 19, 2010 @ 2:36 am

  11. I’m like you, I could eat tons of green beans and broccoli (and beets and carrots and turnips and cauliflower) with just some salt, or nothing even. But I love finding delicious recipes like this to do something different! Love the modifications you made, especially adding the avocado.

    Comment by Ashley — August 19, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

  12. This looks so delicious! I love my green beans tossed with teriyaki sauce, or a nice orange sauce. I love this time of year when veggies are at their freshest. Yum!

    Comment by Jessica — August 20, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

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  16. Thankful there is someone else out there who could take or leave snow peas! This looks glorious! Can’t wait for green beans! I am so happy I found your site. I am in salad heaven.

    Comment by Stella — March 24, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

  17. […] Treat’s Good Green Beans would work with snap peas, […]

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